These Easy DIY Fermented Foods Are Your Next Great Winter Cooking Projects
Probiotic benefits, vibrant flavors, and quick-cooking methods make these recipes your ticket to fermental health.
Did you know you can get a second life out of your leftover homemade pickle brine? The brine and pickled spice dregs in the bottom of the jar can be re-used for many delicious things:
When you’ve eaten all the pickles, just add new vegetables to the brine—Persian cuke spears, blanched carrot sticks, cauliflower, and green beans—and quick pickle a fresh batch. Give them a week or two and then dig in.
Strain out the spices and puree them into pickle mustard. Bonus: dehydrate the pickle mustard in a 175 degree oven overnight and then run it through a spice grinder for a pickle-flavored seasoning salt for next-level fries.
Whisk 1 part pickle juice with 2 parts sour cream or mayo for a quick salad dressing, great for Russian cucumber-tomato salads or to mix with tuna for sandwiches and onigiri.
Super-ripe kimchi is perfect for kimchi stew or added to ramen—the ideal balm for a frigid winter day (and the common cold). This recipe only takes one to two days of fermentation before it’s ready to eat, although you could let it continue to ripen for a more potent, sour flavor.
Recipe: Easy Kimchi
Hot Sauce Hack
Great with everything from tacos to noodles, this hot and tangy-sweet sauce will replace your Sriracha and give your food a punchy probiotic hit. Combine 1 pound stemmed and seeded chiles such as Fresno or cherry peppers, 2 cloves garlic, smashed, 1 small red onion and 1 peeled carrot, coarsely chopped in a large glass jar or bowl. Dissolve 5 tbsp kosher salt in 2 qts water and pour over vegetable mix. Add a weight (a Ziploc filled with water works) so that they stay submerged beneath the brine. Set aside and allow to ferment for 5-7 days, depending on how warm your kitchen is (fermentation will happen faster at warmer temperatures). After 5-7 days, scoop out the vegetables (reserve the brine), add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, and blend to a smooth puree, adding a splash of brine as needed to thin the hot sauce to a sauce consistency. Adjust seasoning according to your taste, then pour the sauce into bottles and keep refrigerated. Best if used within six months; heat will mellow with age.